Archive for the ‘Guns’ category

Honoring A Hero, Despite the Chicken Little Crowd

April 11, 2007

Danny P. Dietz of Littleton, Colorado grew up to be the kind of young man any American parent would be proud to call a son.

 Dietz, after graduating high school, decided to serve his country and joined the United States Navy. Dietz and the Navy proved to be a solid combination as the young Colorado native trained hard and became a Navy SEAL. It meant of course that Dietz would likely find himself in harm’s way as the SEALS are the Navy’s Special Operations Forces, highly skilled and trained in counter-terrorism and other more unconventional means of warfare. Only the best of the best make it through SEALS training. Statue of Navy SEAL Danny Dietz

Dispatched to Afghanistan, Dietz found himself in the middle of an ambush in June, 2005 and performed heroically in combat. Right up to his death.  

Tipped off by anti-coalition Taliban sympathizers of their location, Dietz and another member of the SEALS, Matthew Axelson of Cuppertino, California, were flanked on all sides by Taliban fighters.  

The SEALS’ mission had been to locate a central figure in the Taliban leadership in the mountains of Asadabad. Instead the fighters had found Dietz and Axelson and were pummeling the two Americans who called for assistance. The Chinook helicopter dispatched to aid the courageous SEALS never made it as it was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. In all, eight SEALS and another eight Army Nighthawks lost their lives in what would be the worst single combat loss for the Navy SEALS since Vietnam. Accounts from the battle indicated that Dietz fought until his last dying breath. 

Dietz was awarded the Navy Cross, this country’s second-highest military honor. His SEALS teammate, Matthew Axelson also was so honored. Dietz’s widow and parents received the posthumous award on his behalf in a ceremony on September 13 at the US Navy War Memorial in Washington, DC.   

Dietz’s hometown was also justly proud and wanted to honor this brave young man, commissioning a statue of Dietz that would reside in a municipal park. The statue, of a crouching Dietz in battle gear with his rifle at the ready, was commissioned and the city pushed forward in its efforts to honor its fallen hero. 

If the town of Littleton, Colorado sounds familiar, that’s because 8 years earlier, in 1999, the Colorado enclave made worldwide news thanks to the wanton, senseless slaughter at Columbine High School when two misfits murdered twelve of their fellow classmates before literally turning their guns on themselves. Here though was a chance for the community to rally around a hero with a gun, instead of being remembered for a couple of thugs. 

The statue of Dietz will be near Littleton Middle School, in Berry Park, which happens to also be near a couple of other schools (really, in a city the size of Littleton, what isn’t near a park or a school?) which seems to bother some misguided souls who seem to believe that a statue of an American hero is a bad message for the children.  

“After our experience with Columbine and the clear message that we teach within the Littleton schools…what were we thinking?” stated Emily Cassidy Fuchs to the Rocky Mountain News. Which makes one wonder what is being taught in the Littleton schools. Fuchs was part of a coalition of parents who were distributing flyers objecting to both the design and placement of the statue. “If I’ve got my 4-year old at the playground, I feel it would be a threatening image that would frighten her,” Fuchs amazingly added, apparently unable to explain to her child that the man in the statue with the M4A1 assault rifle and grenade launcher was there to protect her. 

But Dietz’s widow, Patsy, had a ready answer in her response according to the same newspaper account when she said comparing the guns used in Columbine to her husband’s weapon was like comparing a criminal’s use of a knife to a surgeon’s scalpel. “One is used to take lives…and the other is used to save them,” she told the Rocky Mountain News. Dietz’s mother, Cindy, also, thankfully was able to bring this silliness into perspective when she told the paper that the statue “is about a hero. It’s not about war, and it’s definitely not about a gun.”  

Thankfully Littleton has already made the decision to proceed with the statue as planned.   

Despite the small but rabid chicken little crowd, a hero gets his just due.

Advertisements

I’m A Single Mom and I’ll Shoot!

April 4, 2007

Bernadette Headd states that she is “not an idiot” and “far from a danger” but the recent actions of Ms. Headd would seem to suggest otherwise.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press on March 30,  Ms. Headd was on her way to work when she decided to relive the days of the wild west and opened fire with her handgun while traveling 70 miles per hour on eastbound I-94 in suburban Detroit. Actually, it’s a disservice to the wild west to compare her actions to that era.

What caused such an intemperate response from cool hand Bernadette?

Apparently Ms. Headd, after merging onto the freeway, drifted aimlessly into the left lane (known in these parts as the “get the hell outta my way fast lane”), doing  “about 70 mph.” Of course doing the speed limit in the left lane on a Detroit area freeway is not the best idea. As anybody who has driven the freeways in Detroit knows, the speed limit, especially in the left lane, is a mere suggestion. The police won’t even bother you until you pass the 80 mph mark. So, it should not have surprised ol’ cool hand Bernadette that in short order she had somebody in her rear view mirror, none too pleased with her holding back the morning rush.

Cool Hand claims she “feared for her safety” when the Dodge Ram driven by Russell Sabo came “within inches” of the rear bumper of her 1993 Cavalier, so she reacted as anybody would. She brandished a handgun at the driver after she pulled into the center lane and he was next to her in the left lane.

But apparently Mr. Sabo did not flinch or show sufficient fear to Cool Hand’s weapon and allegedly Sabo swerved his car in front of her. Cool Hand indicates that she brandished the weapon to “scare him off,” so having not accomplished this objective, ol’ Cool Hand decided to point the gun out of the window of her car while traveling 70 mph and fired a random shot into the median of the freeway. 

To hear Cool Hand tell it, she had no choice. “I just couldn’t believe that I was put in a position to have to use the gun,” she told the Detroit Free Press from her attorney’s office. Ah yes, you were in your car, Mr. Sabo was in his vehicle (admittedly a big, bad Dodge Ram) and you felt you had no choice but to fire the gun. There were apparently no other options?

In this cell phone technology driven world, Ms. Headd could have easily called 911 on her cell phone if she truly felt threatened. She could have simply backed down and moved away from traffic. There were many, many options short of firing a random shot during morning rush hour traffic that could have easily caromed and/or found another random target.

Ms. Headd, immediately after the incident told police that she “was sick and tired of people running up on her on the freeway.” Now, in the aftermath, and after lawyering up, she has changed her tune. Now, you have to understand, she feared for her life. After all, she is “the primary caregiver” for her mother, who is recovering from a kidney transplant, and her 18-year old son who had surgery in January. 

There is no indication of course as to whether Cool Hand had given any consideration to whether maybe others on the road at the same time may also have had family who would miss them if her wanton, flagrant misuse of her legal firearm had somehow found an unintended target. It’s all about her. She is a victim!

Ms. Headd was in perfectly legal possession of the 9mm handgun. She has apparently owned it since 1999 and went through the appropriate legal means to carry a concealed weapon. This is not a rant for gun control. Far from it. But it appeaers that Cool Hand forgot some of the basic lessons taught during the required handgun ownership course for obtaining a CWP. One of the first is that you never bring out your gun unless you intend to use it. This is to prevent yahoos from doing exactly what Cool Hand just did.

Some will use this incident as an issue to argue for gun control. But this is not about gun control. It is about personal responsibility.

Cool Hand is now out on bail pending a May court appearance in Macomb County, fully enmeshed in the belief that being a single mother, caregiver, gave her some special dispensation to act in a reckless manner, endangering the lives of many motorists that morning.

Thankfully, she no longer has the handgun and will probably lose her CWP, having clearly demonstrated a lack of responsibility.

But Cool Hand does not regret her actions. She actually feels that she should not have been charged with “defending herself” and “has no regrets.”  If you are inclined to buy into the self defense argument, you should also know that she had a second clip of ammo in addition to the loaded gun and another box of 18 bullets behind the passenger seat.

The lesson here is not about gun control. It is about pesonal responsibility and accountability. Thankfully this lesson did not cost any lives, but the perpetrator, ol’ Cool Hand herself, appears to have learned nothing either.

Everything is always somebody else’s fault in Ms. Headd’s world. A world that too many people seem to take up willing residence within.